Testing by Jackson Racing
Sky-high gas prices and the fight to save every penny possible is a reality for all of us, regardless of what we drive and how often we drive it. But how do we achieve the high performance look and feel that everyone wants while hanging on to some of the fuel economy that we all desperately need? That's the question that seems to be on everyone's mind. Let's face it, having a Hybrid car with skinny, ultra-hard compound tires that pull great fuel economy and high fives from the Earth Day event attendees is great, but what about the rest of us that are on the hunt for performance and appearance without sacrificing fuel economy? We set out to try and answer those questions with the help of Falken Tire and Jackson Racing. Recently, Honda Tuning unveiled the Jackson Racing supercharger kit for the CR-Z that truly turned the futuristic two-seater into a performance car with real-world fuel economy. We thought it might make for an interesting test to combine the performance of the Rotrex-equipped Jackson Racing CR-Z with Falken's new Ziex ZE-914 Low Rolling Resistance or EcoRun tire.
The problem we faced was how to conduct a fuel economy test that was as scientific as possible, but also a real-world test that was conducted not in a laboratory, but out on the highway in real-world conditions. Fuel economy has so much to do with individual driving habits that it is nearly impossible for two drivers in the same car to achieve the same fuel mileage. This became the issue for us to get repeatable real-world fuel economy numbers, so we enlisted the help of Jackson Racing with this endeavor.
After much deliberation, it was decided that we would use the accuracy of the supercharged Jackson Racing CR-Z's in-dash fuel economy meter to monitor the fuel numbers, while the factory cruise control would oversee the speed. The limit was set for 65 mph on a midday freeway run with the air conditioning on. This was as close to real world as we could get in Southern California, while still remaining within the realm of being an accurate scientific test.
Oscar Jackson started by filling the tank prior to the test and checking the fuel economy meter's mpg against the actual mpg measure, and calculated via the fuel used and the miles traveled over the last few tanks of fuel. As it turns out, the CR-Z's fuel economy meter is quite accurate and that was a very important part of this test, as we would need the meter to be spot on if we were to get any kind of scientific data from this test.
The second part of the test would be to decide on a travel route and overall distance. It's no secret that rises and falls in our freeway system are the norm, and they greatly effect fuel economy. That being said, setting a route that encompasses these rises and falls and also puts enough miles on each trip to use at least a gallon of fuel so that our averages are accurate, it was important to decide on a proper route.
Our final route would take us east on the 91 freeway through the Santa Ana Canyon and out to the Riverside area and back at midday, in order to eliminate as much traffic as possible. This was an important factor as the cruise control had to maintain its preset 65-mph speed without braking for traffic, and interrupting the testing.
The test would compare the original CR-Z 195/55-16 tires mounted on factory alloy wheels against a popular high performance tire in the 225/45-17 size mounted on Advan Racing's RG-D wheels, versus the new Falken LRR tire in the same 225/45-17 size mounted on the same Advan wheels.
We weighed each wheel/tire combination to determine just how much the larger wheel/tire combination was going to tax the acceleration rate. Here are the numbers:
-OEM factory alloy wheel and 195/55-16 tire = 33.2 lbs.
-Advan Racing RG-D wheel and popular high performance 225/45-17 tire = 40.4 lbs
-Advan Racing RG-D wheel and Falken Ziex ZE-914 225/45-17 tire= 40.2 lbs
The Test: Again we filled the tank of the Jackson Racing supercharged CR-Z and zero'd the mpg meter and odometer at the gas station. Using the factory fuel economy shift arrows for the most fuel-efficient shift points, we headed onto the 91E freeway with the stock tires inflated to the manufacturer suggested pressure. At our predetermined exit point, we got off of the freeway and turned around for the return trip so as to zero out any advantages or disadvantages of the rises and falls in the freeway system. We repeated the exact same route, speed, and distance with the other two sets of tires mounted to the Advan RG-D wheels.
-Stock Wheel/Tire combination= 42.7 mpg at a cruise controlled speed of 65 mph.
-High Performance 225/45-17 on Advan RG-D wheels = 37.5 mpg at a cruise controlled speed of 65 mph.
-Falken Ziex ZE-914 LRR 225/45-17 on Advan RG-D wheel = 40.0 mpg at a cruise controlled speed of 65 mph.
As you can see from the results, the Jackson Racing supercharged CR-Z gets exceptional fuel economy with the stock wheel and tire combination, but the numbers look somewhat mundane after adding the aftermarket wheels. They certainly give the car an exceptional look, but the fuel economy suffers with the popular high-performance tire mounted (if you consider 37.5 mpg poor fuel economy!). Installing Falken's Ziex ZE-914 LRR tires still gave us the look and performance that we were after, but they also returned numbers that were much closer to the smaller, lighter, much less performance-friendly OEM wheel and tire package. Falken's been known for providing great street and performance tires with their Azenis lineup, a series that has dominated the Honda enthusiast market for years. Now they've expanded to offer something to enthusiasts looking to save some money at the pump and still upgrade the look and handling of their pride and joy. Based on the results of the Jackson Racing supercharged CR-Z test mule, these tires deliver!